North Korea’s nuclear and conventional ballistic missile arsenal has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, prompting alarm from Washington and America’s East Asian allies.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report earlier this week outlining North Korea’s recent progress in nuclear weapons development and missile research. In the two years following the Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang has drastically ramped up the scale and pace of its missile testing.
The result, according to the CRS, is a concerning degree of rapid progress across a wide swathe of technical categories. Pyongyang’s buildup of nuclear warheads not only continues unabated at a capacity of up to seven additional warheads per year, but there is cause to believe that North Korea has “achieved a level of miniaturization required to fit a nuclear device on weapons ranging across the spectrum of its missiles, from short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) to intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).”
North Korea’s consistent production of warheads is accompanied by the ongoing modernization of delivery vehicles, striving to maximize the efficacy of their ballistic missile arsenal with the implementation of in-flight maneuverability to better penetrate enemy airspace.